Merwin Leslie "Les" Williams 1928-2017
former Dover Parks and Recreation Director and a familiar sight for decades at Tuscarawas County events related to sports and history, died early Saturday. A resident of Dover for most of his life, he was 88. Born August 4, 1928 in Youngstown, Ohio, he was a son of the late Enoch and Sara Edwards Williams. Les was also preceded in death by his wife, Kay Williams on June 21, 1991; and an infant sister. He was a high school football official in the area for 30 years and in 1989 received the Hall of Fame Award from the Eastern District High School Football Officials Association. He also officiated, among other sports, baseball, basketball, track and field, volleyball, and soccer. He was inducted into the Cy Young Tuscarawas County Old Timers Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008, recognized for his playing, managing and umpiring. He was offered a contract by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1947, but did not report because of an arm injury. He also was a volunteer for many years at the Dover YMCA, where he also played, coached, and refereed in church league basketball games. He was a lifetime member and long-time president of the Dover Historical Society, following his father-in-law, Henry Hagloch, who founded the society. He also was a co-founder in the 1970s of a Revolutionary War re-enactment unit, the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment, at Fort Laurens. In later years, he was a resource for the community on matters of Dover High School sports history. He served in the Army in Germany during 1951-52.
Les is survived by his sons, Gary (Lee Ann) Williams of Wintersville, Brian (Cary) Williams of Columbus, Drew Williams of California; grandchildren: Owen, Meryl, Paul, Brett, Luke Williams; great grandchildren, Hannah and Molly Williams.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 29th., at 11:00 a.m. in the Toland-Herzig Funeral Home and Crematory at Dover. Friends can call at the funeral home on Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. Those wishing to express their fondest memories of Les may do so by visiting the online obituaries and flowers link on the funeral homes website. Memorial contributions may be made to the Community Hospice Truman House.